Wednesday, February 14, 2007

23 Minutes in Hell - A book report

There is something singularly compelling about a personal account. And that is what is so intriguing about this book by Bill Weise. And whether or not we choose to believe his experience, we cannot discount the scriptures that support his story, and there are many.

But it is his personal story that will make your hair stand on end. Hell is not something we like to think about, much less talk about. It is a negative reason to choose Christ when there are so many positive reasons. In a culture where it is wrong to suggest that anything is absolutely wrong, the concepts of judgment and punishment are not popular.

Unfortunately, they are also true.

And so I present to you my thoughts of this book.

Bill, a newlywed and a believer at the time, was taken from his bed in the middle of the night and spent 23 minutes in the depth of hell, afterwards was rescued by Christ Himself and instructed to tell his story to a world where his story would not be popular. It was not just hot there. Bill was left naked, was beaten by huge demons, tortured by heat, noise and smells that made him yearn for death, but it could never come. There was no escape, no respite from the terror and loneliness. He was protected from some of its pain and some of it was removed from his memory because no one could experience such torment and live.

Hell is a place devoid of the love and mercy of God, because it is God Himself who is love and mercy. Hell is a place devoid of comfort and peace and beauty because God Himself is comfort and peace and beauty.

People have a choice. God desires only our true love and there can be no truth to love without free choice. So He leaves us free to choose Him. Or not.

When we choose God, we go to live in His house. Heaven is our true home. I was recounting to Al yesterday why I studied the Bible for 7 years before I accepted Christ as Lord and Savior. It was like I was willing to date Jesus, but I didn't want to marry Him. To visit with Him on occasion was ok for me, but I wasn't ready to commit myself totally, all my life to Him. It was only when I said Yes to Jesus, that I was able to receive His Holy Spirit and become a citizen of Heaven. It is only the Bride of Christ that can return to the home of her Beloved.

When others reject God , they can only spend eternity where God is not. And that is hell. And I am thinking that the only reason why hell is like that is because it is totally devoid of God and His Spirit and His people.

While reading Bill's book, I found myself thinking of The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis. I liked Bill's description of hell better. While The Great Divorce's hell seemed vague and only mildly uncomfortable, Bill's count was franker, harsher certainly, but more realistic and unfortunately, accurate to the scriptures if incredible to be believed.

What do we do with this? Should we run and tell our families and friends..."you need to repent or you will go to hell and it's a really bad place?" Well, maybe not.

Certainly though, it was an urgent reminder that evangelism is urgently important.

No comments: